About twice a year I get a craving for Wurstsalat. If you haven’t heard of Wurstsalat before – it’s maybe not what you’d think on seeing the word Wurst. Literally translated it would be sausage salad, but in German Wurst is not just the word for the different kinds of Bratwurst we have (which we abbreviate to Wurst) but it’s also the overall term for cold cuts or luncheon meats.
Wurstsalat is a traditional Southern German meal that you’ll often find on the menu at a beer garden or a bar. There are a few variations of this, but the most traditional one contains cold cuts, gherkins and onions – all finely sliced. Add some plain (meaning not balsamic or something else fancy) vinegar, like red wine, white wine or malt vinegar, a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper and a touch of oil, and you have a traditional Wurstsalat. Then there’s a version that contains blood sausage, and the version from our Swiss neighbours that contains finely sliced cheese, which makes it a Swiss Wurstsalat.
My craving included cheese, so I added that, but you might notice the absence of gherkins in the pics – that’s because I forgot them as I was in a hurry to take pictures while it was still daylight. I added them after the photo shoot.
A Wurstsalat is quickly made but it shouldn’t be consumed right away as it is supposed to marinate in the dressing (so don’t use that sparingly) for a bit, which will soften the onions a little and will give its flavour to the ingredients. It can marinate from 30 minutes to a whole day (in the fridge), so you can prepare it ahead. If you find you have too much dressing/marinade, just pour some of it off after marinating.
Wurstsalat is mostly served with fresh bread but if you want something more elaborate you can get it with pan-fried potatoes and sometimes a sunny side up egg, especially at a beer garden.
So that’s my cravings dealt with for the next six months, and maybe it’ll trigger some in you…
cold cuts / luncheon meat
hard cheese slices (Emmental, Gouda, mountain cheese…)
freshly ground salt
freshly ground black pepper
vinegar (red wine, white wine or malt)
Thinly slice the cold cuts, cheese, gherkins and onions.
Mix together in a large bowl.
Add vinegar, a pinch of sugar, salt, pepper and (very little) olive oil and mix well.
Let sit for anything from 30 minutes up to 1 day (refrigerated!) to marinate.
Serve with fresh bread.
Note: Too much marinade is better than too little as you don’t want to have part of the salad sitting in the marinade and the top part drying out. If you find you have too much marinade/dressing before serving, pour some of it off.